Living an Intentional Life

Joel Owen - Lead Pastor | Grace Fellowship Church, Kingsport, TN

I grew up playing basketball. I ate, drank, slept, and breathed the game of basketball. It was a passion and almost an obsession for me as I went through middle school and high school with a goal of playing college basketball. That was a big goal for a kid who topped out at 5’10” and 145 pounds! Yet, I had coaches who encouraged me and kept telling me the same thing; “You don’t become better by sitting around thinking of basketball and watching basketball. You have to be intentional to work on your game every day.” Eventually, through a lot of hard work and intentionality, I had a chance to walk on to a college team. It only lasted one season, but I can say I achieved my dream!

When it comes to being a disciple of Jesus who makes disciples of Jesus you must be dedicated to being intentional if you want to succeed.

There will be things you have to sacrifice in order to be intentional as a disciple-maker. It will require your time and energy unlike anything else you’ve ever done. Jesus didn’t accidentally make disciples! Inviting men into relationship with himself for the purpose of reproducing himself was the primary goal Jesus had outside of going to the cross. Jesus ate with the people he discipled, traveled with them, worshiped with them and mentored them. The disciple-making process wasn’t haphazard- it was deeply intentional. If we are going to embrace the command of Jesus to go into the world and make disciples, we are going to have to be very intentional about our efforts to do that. I’ve had to vastly adjust my schedule to allow time for making disciples. I view my home as the first place I am called to make disciples, so I spend intentional time with sons to invest in them spiritually. Our Staff and Elder Teams have worked to restructure our church formats and resources to prioritize discipleship.

In 2 Timothy 2:1-6 we see Paul writing to his disciple about carrying out the mission of Jesus. Paul writes:

“You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops.”

My friend and mentor in the RDN, Brandon Guindon, says,

“Discipleship requires the dedication of a soldier, the discipline of an athlete and the patience of a farmer.”

Each of those professions requires intentionality to succeed. If you are going to make disciples of Jesus it requires living an intentional life and understanding that the process takes time! Jesus spent three years with his disciples. You will not multiply disciples in your life and in your church over night. But through an intentional lifestyle of disciple-making you will see God do great things in the long run.

I’m reminded of something I read recently about a tree that grows in China. After being planted the seed will lie dormant for nearly five years. The farmers feed the soil nutrients, they water the ground and they work the area around the seeds, but for 5 years there is no growth. Then the seed sprouts and in 6 weeks the tree will grow to heights of 90’!

As you make disciples remember, at first it may seem slow. Slow is good. Slow becomes fast as you intentionally invest your life into a few who will invest in a few more until one day your church or ministry will be full of disciples who are making disciples.

Don’t give up! Be dedicated; be disciplined; be patient; and above all, be intentional!

By Joel Owen, Lead Pastor

Grace Fellowship Church
Kingsport, TN